Thank you to everyone who joined @BethHouf and me last week for our first #LeadLAP challenge. There were several “Appreciation Anchors” dropped, and we so appreciated hearing from so many of you about the impact that had on your teachers and on YOU!
This week’s challenge is all about the “N” in ANCHOR Conversations which stands for “Notice the Impact”. This piece of the ANCHOR conversation model is so critical in helping to ensure the feedback we give helps build self-efficacy and encourages teachers to continue powerful practices in a very deliberate and intentional way. The mindset shift in this one is that it is not about noticing things you like or dislike in a lesson and sharing those with the teacher, it’s about noticing the decisions they made that had a positive impact on learning and telling them so.
Phrases like “Great job”, I SO loved your lesson on…”, “I really liked the way you…” or “I think you should have…”, “I would have done _____ instead”, “I didn’t really like they way you____” are all judgmental, and we would argue we should eliminate them from our feedback as much as possible. We’re not saying that we should never tell someone they did a great job or that they need to correct something, but we are advocating to be careful when and for what we deliver those messages. When giving feedback on a lesson… we try not to use judgment language for a variety of reasons. First and foremost… we don’t want it to be about us and what we like or don’t like… we want it to be about what engages students and helps them learn. We don’t want people to plan, adjust and change their lessons based on whether or not WE like them – that shouldn’t be the criteria on which lesson planning and lesson delivery are based, and we don’t want our language to convey that we THINK that is the most important criteria. So, what do we do instead… use “noticing” language. Language that acknowledges that the teacher made a choice to do something and that choice had a significant and specific impact on the learning experience for students. Giving messages that comment on decisions made and the impact they had builds that sense of self-efficacy… that every choice the teacher makes MATTERS… that they hold the POWER in their hands to UNLOCK AMAZING POTENTIAL in each one of the students in their class. We are also convinced that people actually have more of a sense of satisfaction after we drop a “Notice the Impact” ANCHOR then if we were just to say “great job” or “awesome lesson”. Even better, after you notice the impact… label the sound pedagogy!
So what does it sound like to drop this ANCHOR? Something like this…
“Hey when I was in your classroom today, I noticed that you made a choice to add visuals and pictures to your lesson on habitats. I sat down next to Maria (an English learner in the class). When you first started talking about the desert habitat, she was having a hard time following, but as soon as you started to show the pictures, she totally got it and was quickly able to add words and pictures to her notes. Thank you for doing that. Every time you present your content in more than one way, you increase the chances that every child will learn what you are trying to teach them. Have you noticed a difference in student learning when you incorporate visuals, manipulatives, kinesthetic activities or other modes of learning into your lessons?”
“I was so fortunate to be in your classroom for a few minutes today when your students were reading and discussing the article on the Statue of Liberty. You had just posed these questions “Why do you think the Statue of Liberty serves as a symbol of hope? Are there other symbols of hope in our society? Justify your thinking.” I sat down with group one and they were having a powerful and thoughtful discussion. Because you posed questions that did not have a right or wrong answer, you encouraged more complex thinking and allowed for divergent thinking, and in the group I sat with, every child had something to contribute. I even heard Ethan say….. What did you notice about the impact the questions you posed had on the groups you observed?”
So, this week’s #LeadLAP challenge… Take that same 30 minutes each day to visit classrooms. Visit 6-8 classrooms for 3-4 minutes each. Identify a choice or decision the teacher has made and “Notice the Impact”. Drop that ANCHOR and let them know the decisions they make have IMPACT! (While you’re at it… add an A is for appreciation message into your feedback as well!)
Please share with us how the challenge is going throughout the week using #LeadLAP on Twitter!